Casa Adelante 2060 Folsom

Architecture Firm: Mithun with Y.A. Studio

Owner: Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC)

Location: San Francisco

Project site: Brownfield

Building program type(s): Residential – Mid-Rise/High-Rise, Retail Store

In San Francisco’s Mission District, where 47% of the city’s households are housing-cost burdened, Casa Adelante provides 127 households with permanently affordable housing at no more than one-third of their income. The project takes advantage of its walkable and transit-rich site to bolster social equity and strive for a low-carbon future. Through its massing, the project increases the south-facing perimeter to create the most housing and provides compelling park views for the majority of the building’s units. The team also reimagined a narrow fire easement between the site and the adjacent park to create a pedestrian paseo that delivers much-needed public outdoor space and a permeable area that boosts stormwater management and the region’s biohabitat.


Casa Adelente 2060 Folsom makes the most of its walkable, transit-rich, park-adjacent site to provide infrastructure for social equity and a low-carbon future. A mixed-use building with 127 permanently affordable homes and a rich offering of resident and community-serving spaces on the ground floor, the project is the first large all-electric multifamily housing in San Francisco and boasts a net EUI of 14.9. Located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District, the site forgoes parking in favor of ample bike storage and an on-site bikeshare program. A series of overlapping interior and exterior common spaces support the well-being and community life of residents, showcasing the possibilities of integrated design as a vehicle for social equity. The lobby leads to a generous south-facing courtyard overlooking the park that filters stormwater, provides biohabitat and play space, and acts as a “town square” for residents.

“This project checked all the boxes for me with community engagement, the affordable housing aspect, and the impressive research and development efforts from the firm itself.” - Jury comment

The project’s massing, a deep mid-block courtyard flanked by two wings, increases the south-facing perimeter. This layout generated the highest housing yield—key for funding—and park views for most units. The interconnected courtyard, second-floor patio, and childcare play area draw the park exposure deep into the heart of the building, creating a series of dynamic spatial experiences and a welcoming residential environment.

Reimagining what was originally a narrow fire easement between the housing site and the park as an east-west pedestrian paseo added much-needed public outdoor social space, pedestrian connectivity, space for the arts and afterschool organizations, permeable area for stormwater management, and biohabitat.

Likewise, the midblock garden courtyard is central to fulfilling the project’s overlapping ecological and social goals. Flanked by the park, community room, social service offices, and the route from the lobby to elevators, the courtyard is the heart of the building. Residents coming and going casually check out what’s happening in the community room and meet with each other, building staff, and service providers in an easy daily routine. Native sycamores thrive in organically shaped stormwater planters. Structural soil cells promote healthy root volume beneath the courtyard paving, optimizing both ecological function and useable outdoor space for residents.

The nine-level, open-air walkway takes advantage of the city’s mild climate to reduce conditioned space. Part of the building’s distinct architectural identity, the playful scrim casts biophilic shadows throughout the day and presents an intriguing form when viewed from afar.

The multiple benefits of the building’s all-electric systems include reduced first costs, easy maintenance, healthy indoor air quality, reduced vulnerability to earthquakes and fire, and proof of concept for other projects seeking to decarbonize.

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2018

Year of substantial project completion: 2021

Gross conditioned floor area: 167,500 sq. ft.

Number of stories the building has: Nine

Project site: Brownfield

Project site context/setting: Urban

Annual hours of operation: 8,760

Site area: 29,075 sq. ft.

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $68,300,000

Total annual users: 800

Project team

Architect, Landscape Architect, Interior Design: Mithun

Collaborating Architect: Y.A. Studio

Consultant - Acoustical: Salter

Consultant - Energy: Association for Energy Affordability

Consultant - Sustainability: Global Green, Walker Wells

Consultant - Waterproofing: Steelhead

Engineer - Civil: Luk & Associates

Engineer - MEP: Integral Group

Engineer - Structural: Structus  

General Contractor: Roberts Obayashi

Health Facilitators: Green Health Partnership

Specifications: VVAS  


Katie Ackerly, AIA, Chair, David Baker Architects, Oakland, Calif.

Julian Owens, Assoc. AIA, Jacobs, Arlington, Va.

Seonhee Kim, AIA, NOMA, Design Collective, Baltimore

Avinash Rajagopal, Metropolis, New York

Image credits

Casa Adelante 2060 Folsom provides infrastructure for social equity and a low-carbon future.

Bruce Damonte

The multi functional pedestrian paseo connects streets, serves community spaces,  infiltrates stormwater and provides pollinator habitat.

Bruce Damonte

The open-air circulation with its biophilic scrim connects residents to nature and views.

Bruce Damonte

On the north party wall facing Downtown, Jessica Sabogal’s mural dedicated to Mission District artist and activist Yolonda Lopez pays homage to Bay Area solidarity movements.

Bruce Damonte